Spokane Personal Injury | Back To Basics, Part II-Breach

As discussed in Part I, a typical personal injury action in Washington requires the plaintiff to establish four elements: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages. This post will focus on the second element: breach.

Generally, a breach occurs when the plaintiff establishes that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, i.e., failed to act as a reasonably careful person would under same or similar circumstances. To illustrate, take operating a car on the highway. Our driver, who’ll we’ll just dub “Rush” is very late for an important meeting. Rush is speeding down I-90, tailgating anyone who gets in front of him. As Rush approaches the curve near the Division exit, the car ahead of Rush slams on its breaks. Rush can’t stop in time and slams into the breaking car.

In this scenario, Rush just breached his duty of care, i.e., failed to operate his car in a reasonable safe manner. Rush should have been following the lead car at a reasonable safe distance. Rush is now liable to the lead car for any damages he caused because of his breach, i.e., property damage and personal injuries.

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